“Losing you was like a hole being dug in my heart and losing myself at the same time”
It is like falling from the heaven to the hell for the bereaved parents or their families to experience the sudden loss of the beloved child. Not only do their self-worth and role being questioned, but also the marriage or family relationship will be affected. Even though they seem like having walked away from the dark, deep inside the bereaved parents’ hearts, they are still being entwined with the experience of pregnancy loss which is covered up by their smiles, together with the tiring, sorrowful, shocking and anxious physical and mental conditions.
“Why do I still feel the pain when I recall the memory again even if it has been some time already?”
There is no set modes or timetable on the road of bereavement. Everyone will have their unique experiences. The bereaved parents may occasionally recall the pain of the loss on different days or in different situations but they can maintain a normal life and work some times. The on and off are very normal and natural.
Stroebe & Schut (1999) proposed that bereavement is not developed in a one-way and linear process but is oscillating between loss-oriented and restoration-oriented. Life will incline gradually from loss-oriented to restoration-oriented in general. Staying on any of the sides for too long will make it an unhealthy way to cope with the bereavement. We need to balance between the two sides, so as to get used to the grief and move on to the new life.
After the death of the baby, the bereaved parents will experience an oscillation between the grievous emotions and the normal daily life. After some time, the life may resume to a stable condition but when it comes to some special days such as the mother’s day, the father’s day or the estimated due date of the baby, many of them will return to loss-oriented status again in which they feel heartbreaking and sad. After that they will resume to normal daily life once again. If the bereaved parents can get through the bereavement in this oscillation with their own pace, the emotional dose and its influences to daily life will decrease gradually and they can get used to the grief.
The grief is originated from the love to the baby from the parents and therefore, every single teardrop or any emotions represent the mourning and love for the baby. Bereavement is a long process and the memory of the baby will become part of the heart, which will accompany the bereaved parents in the rest of their lives. However, the impact of such memory to their lives will decrease with time.
The pain of losing the baby needs time to be got through. You need to understand bereavement and to embrace all the emotions, so that you would know how to live with this pain step by step.
There are many different ways to express grief. To many people, they choose to cry straight away and to express their strong emotions. This refers to “intuitive grieving”. On the other hand, some may cope with grief by cognition or action such as to think and analyse the incident, to arrange for the funeral or to resume work/normal life. This refers to "instrumental grieving” in which people tends to express their feelings less. Please note that both “intuitive grieving” and “instrumental grieving” are equally effective as long as it matches the bereaved person’s inner needs in a comfortable way. But of course a hybrid mode, namely “blended grieving” will be a healthier mode of grieving in which the expression and reveal of emotions are allowed and at the same time the grief and daily life are coped with cognition and action.
(Doka & Markin, 2010)
The way people grieve is affected by a bunch of factors, including their personal traits, developmental background, past experiences, culture and environment. Some people will choose to talk to others while some choose to hide themselves. Some may accept rational analysis and put into practice but some prefer emotional responses and companion. The reaction among the couple will not be always the same after miscarriage and the difference between the their copings sometimes results in a sense of not being understood nor supported. They may think that their partner is not caring or even either “not sad enough” or “too sad”. All these will affect the intimacy.
Honest communication among the partners, understanding the physical and psychological needs of each other, accepting their different copings in grief, may help the bereaved couple getting through of this grievous experience together. Sometimes, by saying “Thank you”, “I love you” or giving a hug, will touch the souls and reconnect each other to face the upcoming challenges.
Level of severity：
<6: Normal, you are in good mental health condition
6-9: Mild, you might practice stress management exercises or find someone you trust to talk for emotional ventilation
10-14: Moderate, counselling service from helping professionals (e.g. social workers, counsellors, clinical psychologist or doctors) is needed, and methods for stress management need to be explored
15 or above: Severe, immediate intervention from helping professionals (e.g. social workers, counsellors, clinical psychologist or doctors) is recommended in order to relieve your physical and psychological disturbances